Tag Archives: care

Disabled care home residents are being evicted because charities can’t afford to subsidise them

Money: the cost-of-living crisis means more cash is needed to cover the care of severely disabled people – but councils don’t have enough.

Here’s a little-known consequence of the cost-of-living crisis: disabled people are being evicted from charity-run care homes because local councils are refusing to pay increased costs.

These are people with severe disabilities whose care can cost anything between £85,000 and £150,000 per year.

The charity Leonard Cheshire said it had served 11 eviction notices on contracts with councils that had been under re-negotiation without agreement since February. Two were rescinded after councils agreed to pay uprated fees.

The fee increases reflect the rising costs of wages, energy and food due to the cost-of-living crisis that has been largely caused by the UK’s Conservative government, due to Brexit and energy privatisation that has led to failures to upgrade to cheap, locally-generated energy.

Leonard Cheshire has spent millions of pounds from its own reserves over the last few years, subsidising care services that councils have failed to fund adequately – but now says it can no longer afford to continue doing so.

Mencap has not evicted anybody because it generally doesn’t own the properties they occupy – but is subsidising one in five of the state-funded care packages it provides to 4,000 people – so that’s 800 of them. The cost to the charity is millions of pounds.

Evicted residents are unlikely to become homeless because their council or NHS funder has a duty to provide alternative care.

But the concern is that moving will disrupt the care that people get, and cheaper alternative arrangements will be of poorer quality or based far away from their family support network.

Ironically, the evictions are prompted by concerns that the level of council funding no longer guarantees basic safety and quality standards.

Inevitably, the government has claimed it provides plenty of money to support adult social care services – with the £7.5 billion available over two years constituting the biggest funding increase in UK history.

Conspicuously missing is any comment on whether this is enough money to cover the increased costs of care.

So you may safely conclude that it isn’t.

Source: Disabled care home residents evicted in charity’s dispute with councils | Social care | The Guardian

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Is government reassurance that care charges won’t swallow cost of living payment true?

Money: Rishi Sunak is offering cost of living payments of £800 for people with disabilities – but are government assurances that the payment won’t be taken by councils worth the time taken to provide them?

Are you convinced by this?

Concerns had been raised that people with disabilities will not gain any benefit from government payments of £650 for those on means-tested benefits, and another £150 for recipients of disability benefits.

This is because disabled people receiving social care provided in their own homes by their local council must make a financial contribution – usually everything above the minimum income of £94.15 per week.

So, in theory, all £800 of the cost-of-living support provided by the government could be taken by local authorities in care charges.

Challenged on this by Disability News Service, the Department for Health and Social Care has said it does not think the payment will be taken by councils.

The DHSC reckons that, because the payment is a one-off, it will not be considered as regular income and so will not be included in disabled people’s regular incomes and affect the so-called Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG).

That’s all very well – but why not simply make an announcement to that effect?

If the government stipulates that this money may not be considered in council’s calculations, then councils will have to accept that, and leave the cash alone.

Without such a rule, there is no cast-iron guarantee that this will happen. I wonder why the Tories haven’t bothered to make it already. And I wonder how many other people are in a similar situation.

Source: Government eases concerns over cost-of-living payment care charge fears – Disability News Service

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Rishi Sunak wanted to Americanise the UK’s social care system

Sunak: he’d rather hand social care to profit-making American companies than invest in a UK-based service that might actually help people.

Here’s a good investigation from iNews: Rishi Sunak tried to get US-based social care companies to bring their businesses to the UK.

He tried to get social care firms Honor and Unite Us, healthcare data firm Komodo Health, health insurance firm Devoted Health, and cancer detection company Grail (whose parent Illumina is advised by former PM David Cameron) to profit from UK citizens’ care needs.

They all turned him down:

According to partially redacted Treasury minutes of the meeting… “US healthcare firms want to focus on their domestic market before contemplating expansion, because i) it’s so vast: population and spend per capita much higher than e.g. in the UK; ii) it’s complicated and idiosyncratic; it’s not a portable approach.

“UK healthcare has historically not been especially innovative, but some participants reported positive engagements where they’ve worked with the NHS recently.”

This is particularly telling:

A Government spokesperson said: “We have a strong track record of promoting overseas investment to the UK to boost our economy and level up the country.”

Is that because it’s easier than investing in doing it ourselves?

Trouble is, the profits go out of the country too – leaving the UK even more impoverished due to Tory policies.

We should be glad that Sunak failed.

Source: Rishi Sunak met private US social care firms to discuss ‘opportunities’ in the UK

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Will Boris Johnson be tackled for ‘misleading’ House of Commons after Covid in care homes ruling?

Here’s something that happened after the end of the last Parliamentary session, but that should be raised in the new one.

More than 20,000 people died in care homes because of decisions made by Boris Johnson’s ministers (notably then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock).

Johnson made a statement in Parliament that ministers were not aware of asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 at the time they were ordering that care home residents in hospital should be sent back. The evidence shows it was false.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting claimed this was not true, highlighting a point of order raised by Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the House of Commons.

Speaking to MPs on Thursday, Ms Debbonaire claimed the government was provided with evidence at the beginning of 2020 that pointed to that asymptomatic transmission of the Covid virus.

“On 28 January 2020, advice from Sage on asymptomatic transmission included that ‘early indications imply some is occurring,’” she said. On 24 February, the Lancet published a paper finding that infected individuals can be infectious before they become symptomatic.

“On 13 March, Patrick Vallance told the Today programme that ‘it’s quite likely that there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission’. Yet it wasn’t until 15 April that the government’s guidance was changed to require patients were tested before being discharged to care homes.”

Ms Debbonaire said Johnson might have “inadvertently” misled the House of Commons, but This Writer disagrees.

Either he was briefed on asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19, or he deliberately chose to miss the briefings at one or several of the COBRA meetings that he skipped (due to laziness?) in early 2020. In any case, the responsibility to know the facts fell on Johnson.

Therefore, if he told the Commons that ministers didn’t know about asymptomatic transmission, he was deliberately choosing to mislead MPs. He should be challenged and he should resign.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of ‘misleading’ House of Commons after Covid in care homes ruling

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Tory government caused tens of thousands of Covid-19 care home deaths unlawfully

Dr Cathy Gardner: she was one of those who took the government to the High Court, after the care home death of her father, Michael Gibson.

Watch (and/or listen to) this:

“The thing that we didn’t know in particular was that Covid could be transmitted asymptomatically,” said Boris Johnson.

Not true.

In their judgment, Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham found that the government failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission, which had been highlighted by Sir Patrick Vallance in a radio interview as early as March 13, 2020:

“Those drafting the March Discharge Policy and the April Admissions Guidance simply failed to take into account the highly relevant consideration of the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from asymptomatic transmission.”

The government stopped testing for Covid-19 on March 12 that year, due to a lack of capacity, and care home residents weren’t regularly tested until April 15, by which time the virus was rampant.

The Commons’ own Science and Technology Committee pointed out in May that year that, despite having been warned about asymptomatic transmission, and despite evidence suggesting a “high proportion” of people with Covid-19 – possibly as high as 80 per cent – have no symptoms at all, the government’s approach to dealing with asymptomatic carriers was still unclear.

And more than 20,000 people died.

This Writer hopes the judgment opens the way for the families of the deceased to claim compensation from the government – although, sadly, any such payments are likely to be paid from the public purse, rather than directly by the Tory Cabinet ministers responsible, such as Boris Johnson and then-health secretary Matt Hancock.

The deaths of this multitude of people are their responsibility. It’s no wonder that bereaved families have demanded Johnson’s resignation.

He has ignored the demands, as usual. He doesn’t care that thousands of people died. Remember – he’s alleged to have said “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” at a later date.

But there will be an inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 pandemic next year.

Perhaps it will recommend that those responsible be brought to justice for the deaths they have caused (but I doubt it).

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If you thought the UK National Insurance rise was going to the NHS: that was a Tory lie

Rishi Sunak: His – and Boris Johnson’s – claim that a massive hike in National Insurance, announced last year, would go entirely to fund the National Health Service and social care… was not true. Were you fooled?

Boris Johnson’s claim that his – and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s – National Insurance rise would sent £12bn to the NHS and social care was a lie, economic analysts have confirmed.

They pointed out that measures in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement have chopped that amount in half – but added that it was never intended to go to the NHS in the first place.

Here are BBC Business Editor Simon Jack and Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies to explain:

Were you fooled by the Tory liars?

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Coming soon (online): forum on the future of the #NationalHealthService

It turns out the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs does actually perform a function beyond being Keir Starmer’s tame band of left-wing poodles.

Many of us have been disappointed with the SCG’s failure to stand up to  the Red Tory bully, but perhaps we should give it the benefit of the doubt if it can bring forth anything useful from its series of online policy seminars. Here’s the latest:

Ending NHS Privatisation – For a National Care Service.

Monday, February 21, 2022, 7pm.  Register here 

Organised in partnership with the Labour Assembly Against Austerity and Momentum, this will examine the key policies the Left needs to be raising and asking how to build the movements necessary to win these policies.

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Do working-class Tories realise their government is going to take away their homes?

The Tory decision to charge people £86,000 up-front for social care casts a new perspective on the Conservative Party’s policy on housing from the 1970s onward.

Margaret Thatcher’s government was very hot on giving us all the “right to buy” our homes, including council houses, thereby reducing the amount of social housing available and increasing homelessness.

The buyers were told the purchases would be investments that they could pass on to their successors.

Thatcher’s – and successive – Conservative governments were also opposed to state-run social care. They passed it into private hands with a series of increasingly-inadequate funding agreements that have led to the plan in the Health and Care Bill.

So it seems the plan has always been to fool working-class people into spending their money on houses that would be taken away from them again in their old age; if these dwellings had remained as council housing, it would not have been possible to demand them as payment.

And now we are seeing messages like this.

How many millions of people like Sir Norman of Nowhere’s Dad are there, out in the United Kingdom right now, ignoring the fact that their own political decisions will ruin their retirements (or earlier life, depending on whether they need social care before then)?

What a breathtakingly evil long-term plan.

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Tories vote in changes that make social care free for the rich – while the poor lose everything

“I’m going to apply the pincers and drag every last penny out of the poor”: Boris Johnson explains how he’ll make sure rich people don’t have to pay a penny towards their social care, so they can pass their millionaire mansions to their kids.

You would never know what has happened, from the way the BBC reported it.

Boris Johnson’s Tory government has gone ahead and approved a plan to make the poorest people in the UK pay for the social care of the richest.

It means rich people will be able to pass their huge mansions to their children while poor people will have to sell their houses to pay for their social care.

Here’s how it works: from October 2023, nobody will pay more than £86,000 for care costs (excluding accommodation) in their lifetime.

Once people have paid this amount – a pittance for the extremely rich – their ongoing costs will be paid by local authorities. Those with between £20,000 and £100,000 in assets will get means-tested help from their council; those will less than £20,000 won’t have to pay from their assets but might have to contribute from their income – an additional burden for low-earners.

It means people are still likely to have to sell their houses to pay for care – unless they are rich.

Meanwhile an increase in National Insurance contributions to pay for social care will be dragged exclusively from the poor. Richer people won’t have to pay a penny more.

How did the BBC report this?

MPs have backed a change to the way the government’s cap on lifetime social care costs for people in England will work.

They supported excluding council support payments from the new £86,000 cap by 272 votes to 246.

Labour and other opposition parties argued this would unfairly hit the poor, while some Conservatives raised doubts about the proposal.

But the PM insisted the new system would still be “incredibly generous”.

It’s not a total lie – the new system will be “incredibly generous” – to people who are incredibly rich.

Everybody else loses out. But the BBC didn’t mention that.

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As the misnamed Health and Care Bill goes before MPs, here’s what it will do

Not for sale: sadly, this is just an aspiration now – held by those of us who still think healthcare should be based on patient need and not on provider profit.

[Vox Political first published this article in July. As the Health and Care Bill goes before MPs tomorrow and Tuesday (November 22-23), this seems an appropriate time for a reminder of how they intend to butcher your health service.]

Services will be cut or rationed and the NHS will become an unregulated market for healthcare firms under Sajid Javid’s contradictorily-named Health and Care Bill which – if enacted – will support neither.

That’s the message from Keep Our NHS Public campaigners.

The Bill will break the NHS into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

Oh, and you remember the much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State? It means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

According to Dr John Lister, Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public and health policy academic

This Bill will not treat even one extra patient, or recruit one extra nurse

He asked why the new law is being deemed so urgent and important – but isn’t it obvious?

Javid, Johnson and the other Tory parasites want to turn your health into a profit-making industry for their donors as soon as possible.

I’ve just picked out the headline issues. Read more details here: Health and Care Bill means lucrative NHS contracts will be dished out ‘without competition’ | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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